There is a growing need to adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals that aim to “Transform the World”. Change comes with collective effort, mutual understanding and knowledge towards specific goals.
Despite the UN and other international organisations making crucial decisions, the result is far from expected. It made me wonder what it is that we are falling short on? Is it the lack of interest or lack of awareness?
That’s when I had a eureka moment, and it suddenly started to make all sense. Many people don’t know the complicated terms and references that are used when we talk about sustainability. The idea inspired me to create a new series called “The ABCs of Sustainability Development”. I hope that this series of blogs is well received and serves its purpose.
Previously, we touched base upon what the dynamic B Corp certification entails. Crafted for sizable businesses with a strong draw towards environmental and social justice, B-Corp strengthens leaders to streamline operations, increase transparency while aligning with their ESG commitments. The strenuous accreditation can be received once businesses go over a five-step impact assessment of the following categories: governance, workers, community, environment and customers. The certification is awarded if a score of at least 80/200 is reached.
Specifically in the United Kingdom, the B Corp movement has done exceptionally well. They have shown to be more resilient to economic storms than their counterparts of similar size. Key reason for such a strong financial positioning comes from the emphasis on stakeholder engagement and direct commitment to maintaining strong relationships with everyone from workers to customers.
New initiates have also come up in terms of carbon mitigation, achieving carbon neutrality and making businesses as sustainable as possible. Take a look at the work of these two B Corps:
This digital marketing agency is going above and beyond to help brands to grow their business online with sustainable strategies as well as is actively removing carbon from the atmosphere. Their data shows a near 100% reduction in scopes 1 and 2. They plan to hit the 50% mark with scope 3 emissions by the end of March 2023.
World’s first carbon negative brewery, BrewDog received its certification in 2021. To achieve carbon neutrality and net zero emissions in their functions, they remove all of their emissions at The BrewDog Forest, near their home in the Scottish Highlands and annually share 10% of their profits with their staff to promote the narrative of responsible governance. With an overall score of 81.8 based on the B Impact assessment, BrewDog stands fairly higher than the average business score of 50.9 too.
B Corps as a Force of Good
Currently, there are over 640 B Corps in the UK across 55 industries with over 39,500 employees. And this number seems to keep growing. In a B Lab survey 55% of the respondents believed that being a B Corp has contributed to improving the resilience of the business through the pandemic.
Becoming a B Corp does not craft a clear path to impact success. It is also, by no means, the only certification that helps you steer towards the positive side. Critics come ahead and speak of the slow pace of the movement, feel it doesn’t promise action, assists greenwashing of sorts and emphasises on preaching than practising. However, the steady growth of the movement and the increasing registrations for the certification process only hints to a consumer base of business leaders whose goals are aligned towards a greater good. This inclination may come from a strong commercial rationale attached to the business idea or simply the moral value of their actions. But for businesses on their path to green commerce, resources are always available.
Three tools offered by the B Lab include B Impact Assessment (to understand where you stand), an SDG Action Manager (a tool to track your business’ progress towards achieving these goals) and B Leaders (sustainability professionals who support businesses through the B Corp Certification process).
I am excited to share that I am currently training to become a B Leader! I want to open up business owners to the idea of the policy change and effectively provide solutions to speed up their social, economic and environmental goals. Here are things to focus on even if you aren’t chasing the B-Corp Certification to improve your sustainable impact.
Environmental Management Systems
Implementing Environmental Management Systems is the easiest way to kick start your sustainability journey. This refers to a set of activities rounded to provide better environmental results for your company starting from monitoring situations, assessing data, formulating policies and implementing changes. Key areas of focus are emissions to land, air and water, energy consumption and effects on the local communities.
Putting a plan for sustainability in place also helps mitigate costs effectively, increases resilience to risks and shocks, builds a market reputation and allows easier and holistic governance across operation sectors. Follow this link to read more about the benefits of implementing EMS.
As I mentioned earlier, B Corp is not the only certification that drives you to achieving SDG targets. In fact, from the ISO 14000 family, eight out 17 UN SDGs directly link to the focus of ISO 14001. It is a framework for an EMS system directed towards identifying and controlling the environmental impact of a company’s activities, products and services.
The ISO 140001 certification will cover ways to protect the environment by improving resource efficiency, reducing waste, measuring impact, and reducing costs while maximising business opportunities and increasing stakeholder trust to gain competitive advantage in all fields, sustainably.
Global Reporting Initiative
GRI is another tool to assess and understand and assess your company’s relation with climate changes, corruption, human rights through reporting. Just like the above two examples, a GRI report is in place to maintain transparency in operations. It allows organisations to get familiar with the risks and opportunities involved, helps with financial planning, and mostly bridges the communication gap between governments and organisations.
For every business leader, it’s important to adopt a mindset of longer-term goal setting and planning. Once you start formalising your internal processes, there will always be a great pool of resources to align your progress towards becoming a successful environmentally driven organisation.